This blog is set up to help share news and information about our two little miracles, Ellie Grace and Hannah Rose who joined us much earlier than anticipated on the 16th of March at just 26 weeks and 6 days (3 months early). For us though, the story began much earlier and was already a journey before the girls even arrived.
We are so blessed to have two healthy (and cheeky) little boys Nate and Levi, who in hindsight entered this world with very little fuss. It wasn’t until a miscarriage in August 2015 that we experienced how difficult and painful family life can be. We were held by family and loved ones and were quite surprised to find out we were pregnant again in late October, and especially surprised that we were pregnant with twins!
We have twin nieces and close friends with twin girls and had seen first hand the joys and adventure that can come with twins. While the concept of twins was rather daunting it was also extremely exciting and we had great plans on how and when we would announce the news to family and friends.
There were definitely more nerves this time around and we had just told family and friends at 11 weeks when Deb was rushed to hospital in an ambulance with severe bleeding. We were told we had lost the babies and Deb was taken in for scans to check the source of the bleed. The scans however showed otherwise and there were still two kicking bubs inside her tummy. The next few days were quite anxious as we were rushed to specialist scans and were unsure of the situation. We were relieved to hear that the bleed had not affected the bubs but we were put on high alert and Deb was given instructions to be on bed rest.
At 12 weeks a follow up scan showed that Twin 1 (today known as Hannah) had a thickening on her neck, this can be a sign of a chromosomal problem. At this time we had moved from grieving the possibility of the loss of our babies just one week earlier to being told to prepare to make a decision about keeping our children if they were confirmed to have down syndrome. Deb and I both had no questions about keeping the babies as we waited for the advanced blood test to come back from America. A week later we found out there was in fact no chromosome abnormalities but they suspected the babies instead had a complex issue called Twin to twin transfusion syndrome. They also said because it had begun so early in the pregnancy there was a very limited likelihood of either baby making it through the pregnancy.
With regular scans to check on the situation our hopes grew each week until our 19 week scan. The babies were now big enough to have a more advanced scan which brought us more news. The babies didn’t have TTTS but did have selective inter uterine growth restriction. The doctor who reported on our ultrasound told us the only way to have a successful pregnancy was to cut Twin 2 (our beautiful Ellie) cord and allow Twin 1 (Hannah) to thrive. It was at this stage our obstetrician referred us to the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) unit at the Royal Hospital for Women. We then received further scans and were told that cutting one of the babies cords was not even a consideration at this stage. We were then briefed on a whole new list of possible complications and problems that we should expect to encounter. It was quite daunting being told about our rare and complicated pregnancy, but there was some comfort in the fact they had seen others in similar situations to ours before. We felt very secure in their knowledge and competence at RHW.
Deb was regularly scanned and was given one last complication when they discovered she had gestational diabetes (this was just 6 days before our gorgeous babies were born). We were very grateful that Deb had been seen by the MFM unit officially for 3 or 4 weeks by now and had snuck into their very special MFM midwife program just 1 week before the girls came.
Deb’s last official appointment for a scan was on Monday 14th March, following that appointment she was abruptly admitted to hospital and that was the beginning of a very stressful, surprising, nerve racking, emotional 10 days in hospital which included the birth of our beautiful baby girls.
Needless to say these girls have certainly taken us on a roller coaster of emotions and trials even before they were born. One thing that has held us the whole way is the prayers and support of those around us. We are so grateful for how they have carried us through the pregnancy and continue to carry us as the girls are in hospital.